I really enjoyed exploring the sixteen sites of Freedom Trail and walking on the Boston Common, which was designated as a Boston Landmark in 1977. Boston Common is important to American history because it is the oldest city park in the United States. In addition, many well-known, successful Americans are buried there, such as one of America’s foremost portraitists Gilbert Stuart, the first American choral composer William Billings, and Samuel Sprague, who was one of America’s earliest poets in the 1700s, a participant in the Boston Tea Party, and fought in the Revolutionary War. In addition, Boston Common reminds people about the first protests of the American Revolution that began after the passage of Stamp Act in the 1700s. In August of 1765, angry riots protested against the Stamp Act tax and hung an effigy of Andrew Oliver, tax commissioner, from the Liberty Tree on Boston Common and damaged the homes of many customs officials, including the Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson. Furthermore, Boston Common hosted Anti-Vietnam War and civil rights rallies along with hosting Masses. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. had one speech in the Boston Common and in 1979 Pope John Paul II gave Mass to people there. In other words, Boston Common preserved the history of American art, religion, revolutions, and rallies that have changed the destiny of the United States.
However, Boston Common is not only important to American history but to global history as well. For example, I learned that back in the mid-1630s, Boston Common and some other parts of Massachusetts were owned by William Blaxton or William Blackstone, the first European settler of Boston. In 1630, John Winthrop delivered a sermon to encourage the Puritan society to stay strong in faith and used a famous phrase “a city on a hill” describing his expectation on the city of Massachusetts and how it differs from any other city in the world. In 1634, forty-four acres of the land was bought from Blackstone by the Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and this encouraged many of Puritans to immigrate from England to Boston. Then, the Common became a site for Puritanical punishments, especially for pirates and stocks. Last but not least, in the 1700s, Boston Common was used as a camp by the British before the American Revolutionary War, from which they left for the Battle of Lexington and Concord. In other words, Boston Common preserved important global history such as the British and Puritan settlements in the New World.